The Morning Manna Story

The Morning Manna story:

An inspiring story of community faith in action, born out of the belly of a Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

Morning Manna is a prayer group, based in Atlanta, Georgia, that positively impacts people and situations all over the world, through prayer.

Dr. Rosalyn Saunders, a Nurse Practitioner and now Faith Community Nurse, started Morning Manna eleven years ago. The seeds of hope and healing were planted in her, at the tender age of four, as she grew in stature and wisdom, observing the works of her grandmother, a midwife.

Long before it was given a name, this Faith Community Network was operating in the Bahamas, where Dr. Rosalyn Saunders, was directly impacted by the prayers and influence of her grandmother. For it was her grandmother who introduced her to Christ by reading the Bible and the “Bible Story Series” to her. Her grandmother modeled the life of Jesus by caring for the sick, clothing and feeding the hungry. (Matt 25: 35-36). Those seeds were planted deep in her little, developing mind. And as she grew, so did the seeds and the deeds.

Over eleven years ago, a young wife and mother, was joyfully pregnant, expecting to add a third child to their growing family. As the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into a full third trimester, the day had finally arrived! The siblings were eagerly awaiting the new bundle of joy. But an ominous, heaviness was in the air, and the unexpected happened: the baby was stillborn. Those words never ever sound good when paired together: Still and born. While science explains it as the loss of a baby before or during delivery, no one could explain it to this young mother’s heart. All she and her husband knew, at that moment, was that they were not taking their new baby home. They were not going to be able to put the newborn clothes, toys, and crib to use. And furthermore, what, and how would they tell their children, who rubbed and sang songs to the belly for months: And who prayed for this unborn gift. There were no words!

But in Columbus, Georgia, five faithful few Seventh-day Adventist church sisters, led by Dr. Rosalyn Saunders, Nurse Practitioner, wife, and a part of Gregory Saunders pastoral team, decided to cover this mother, filled with sorrow, in prayer. Even though the mother would not accept visitations, they knew that only prayer could go where isolation could not. The mom had isolated herself from all that mattered, and all who cared, as she sat in the sadness of it all. But God, who is ever faithful, and never gives up on us, reminds us in Psalms 34:18, that he is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

These faithful five women did only what they knew to do:  pressed in prayer to meet the spiritual needs; they prepared meals to meet the physical needs. And they waited on God’s timing to meet the emotional needs. They met this grieving mother where her needs were. And as the Holy Spirit softened and began to heal her heart, the visitations began. These faithful five reminded this loving, broken spirit, that she was not alone. (1 Thess.2:7). And that they serve a God of restoration. In their words, they were not just there to pray for her, but with her. They assured her that they were Sisters in Christ, to share in her grief and in her healing. As Ruth exemplified a steadfast, unmovable faithfulness to her mother-in-law Naomi, so were these five faithful sisters using their gifts to minister to this grieving mother. Up from the ashes and out of the shadows of this valley experience, Morning Manna was birthed. And now for eleven years, this ministry has been giving life and hope to the hopeless. And this mother regained her strength, her faith, and her walk with Jesus.

Yet one victory does not prevent another trial. For In 2012, another trying experience arose. At a time when celebration should have been in the air, Dr. Saunders’ mother passed. And she and her sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. This weighty, Job-like experience would have left most helpless and hopeless. But through Jesus, Dr. Saunders’ faith directed her again to prayer. And no surprise: prayer worked! She and her sister were restored to health and hope. They now encourage women who are facing a diagnosis of cancer.

Without any prior knowledge about the Faith Community Nurse course, God was directing her path, and shaping her mind and thought. It was no surprise that in 2021, when the opportunity of taking the FCN course was presented, Dr. Saunders embraced it. This course aligned with much of what she was already doing or had previously done. Yet again, God was ordering her steps.

The work of the FCN is following Jesus’s example while he walked this earth. And as the wife of a pastor, Rosalyn was already cooking and feeding the hungry; praying for the sick; providing clothing to the needy; organizing and launching a “rapid response team” at one of the local churches. This team consisted of four groups, comprised of deacons, deaconesses, and other church members who worked in small groups to minister to church members and surrounding communities. They helped the helpless and hopeless. They ministered to the widows, young, single mothers who needed help, direction, and advocacy. One group cleaned houses, while others prepared meals, and some cared for the children and mowed lawns.

Today Morning Manna Prayer line continues to affect change, through prayer, and action. They minister to “Families of Victims of Gun violence” attending to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Additional support is offered in the form of family visits, coupled with prayer, along with a monetary gift on behalf of members of Morning Manna.

Morning Manna “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thess. 5:16-17.   believes that the power of prayer can permeate every facet of each life and can affect every situation for God’s glory:  There are no barriers that can prevent God’s work and His will being accomplished. We each have a role to play in finishing the work, as co-laborers in His vineyard.

This faithful Morning Manna team of prayer warriors meets every Monday through Friday, with great expectations from God. And a host of angels and our Savior await the gathering of saints, logging in to prayer with purpose and power, using the “Five-finger prayer model.”

Dr. Rosalyn Saunders continues to expand her reach in the community by partnering with other Community Faith Nurses and organizations: Dr. Dana Austin, DSc, of the Center for Global Health Innovation, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. She serves as the Chair of The Adventist Faith Community Nurses (AFCN) Illuminator Newsletter for the North American Division.

As Jesus prepares to stand up, we know the hour is short, and the harvest remains plenty, and the workers are few. You too, can pray people through. You too can serve and use what we have in your hands, for God’s glory!

By Dana M. Austin, DSc, MS, BSN, Community Health Ambassador/Nurse

By Dana M. Austin, DSc, MS, BSN, Community Health Ambassador/Nurse

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